Again the next day John stood with two of his disciples. And seeing Jesus walking, he said: "Behold the Lamb of God." And the two disciples heard him speak, and the followed Jesus. And Jesus turning and seeing them following Him, said to them: "What are you seeking?" They said to Him: "Lord, where dwellest Thou?" He said to them: "Come and see." They came and saw where He dwelled, and they stayed with Him. (John 1:35-39)
As John the Baptist did in his time, Mary also, during her time at Garabandal, was attracting the attention of her disciples to direct it later to . . . to Whom?
During the events of Garabandal, a resplendent Marian Epiphany manifested itself. But soon it became clear that this in itself was not the whole reason for Mary's coming; there was a higher purpose to come forth later.
The minds of the pupils tutored in the school of Mary, Jesus' first disciple, naturally were lead to an understanding and meeting with her Son. Garabandal can only be comprehended by realizing the significance of the axiom:
From this, the title of Part Two of this work.
Above all, to Jesus as He is present for us here and now in the Blessed Sacrament.
|English: Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist, the Body of Christ. The Eucharist is held in a modern monstrance, flanked by candles. We gaze over the shoulders of altar servers who are kneeling in adoration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
It is highly significant that the girls, as the first apparition ended, ran to shelter themselves against the walls of the church, and later prayed within it a Station to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
Following this, there was hardly an ecstasy that was not related to the ineffable presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist.(1)
And along the same line, the first public message on the night of October 18th brought this out in a simple but very important statement:
It is necessary to visit the Blessed Sacrament.
But the Eucharist is not only the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. It is also the Bread of Life, and its primary reason is to be the nourishment and nutriment of souls.
I am the Living Bread, coming down from heaven. Whoever eats of this Bread, will live forever. And the Bread that I give is My Flesh, laid down for the life of the world. (John 6:51)
From the start Garabandal began turning the attention of the visionaries and the spectators toward Holy Communion . . . For it is in this reception of the Eucharist that a great personal encounter with Christ takes place.
From the beginning of the apparitions, the Angel St. Michael gave us unconsecrated hosts.
We had eaten at the time, and he gave them to us all the same.
This was to teach us to receive Communion.It was like this for many days.
Evidently there was careful preparation—even in outward details—for something that deserved to be well done. (This preparation could be repeated today, even among the old faithful, for how deficient has become the way of receiving Communion. How careless! How irreverent!) Conchita's reference to eating refers to the Eucharistic fast, which in the days of the apparitions was still three hours.
One day he told us that we were to come on the next morning to the Pines —without eating anything—and that there should be a young girl with us.
And we brought the girl.And we did as he told us.The instructions having been completed, something serious and important was to begin, something having great exigency for the spiritual progress of the girls (and not only for them). For some mysterious reason, on this day, as on other important times at Garabandal, the presence of a small child-witness was required. Two six year old girls were always chosen for this function: Sari, the sister of Loli, and Carmen, the sister of Jacinta; we do not know which of the two was present on this occasion.
When we came to the Pines, the Angel appeared to us with a golden chalice.
And he told us, I am going to give you Communion, but today these are consecrated Sacred Hosts.
Say the "I Confess" . . .
And we prayed it, and afterwards he gave us Communion.
And after receiving Communion, he told us to make our thanksgiving to God . . .
And after making our thanksgiving, he told us to pray with him the "Soul of Christ." And we prayed it.And he said to us: I will give you Communion tomorrow too. And he left.
So Communion was given according to the traditional ritual of the Catholic Church. The first time that the pastor Father Valentín took down in his notes this type of Communion by the girls, he wrote:
«They say that he does it the same as I do when I give Communion.»
The rite started with an act of purification of the soul through the humble confession of sins; and ended by receiving the Lord within, with the making of an effort at concentration so as to communicate with Him.
This is what has always been sought with the thanksgiving after Communion; but unfortunately, for many of the new hour of the Church, priests and faithful alike, that is not the way it is today.
The Mass ends; the blessing is received. No reason to stay longer . . . It is finished. That's enough . . . It can be understood: It is not agreeable to remain before eyes that search out everything, to answer to a Presence that . . . Better not to think of that! Oh! The holy motive for rushing out and the great talk of caring for one's neighbor!
The Angel wanted the girls to learn to pray a brief prayer as an ending for their Communions. This particular short and fervent prayer has been used in devout areas of Catholicism since the days of St. Ignatius of Loyola. It can be found in many prayer-books (a rare species of printing that is becoming extinct).
When we told this to the people (receiving Communion from the Angel's hands) some did not believe it — especially the priests, since they said that an Angel couldn't consecrate.
And when we saw the Angel again, we told him what the people had said.
And he told us that he had taken Them (the hosts) from the tabernacles, that he had taken Them from the earth, already consecrated.
And afterwards we told this to the people.
And some doubted.
And he gave us Communion for a long time.
Conchita writes this down at the end of the first year of apparitions. And it is surprising that she does not mention it in the earlier pages, since the phenomena of these Communions—to which the term mystical was given to distinguish them from ordinary Communions—began very early.
From the beginning, she tells us; and in the scrambled notes of Father Valentín we find this brief notation, pertaining to the month of July, 1961:
«They said that they received Communion on the 11th, 12th, and 13th.»
1. A lawyer from Palencia, Luis Navas, went up to Garabandal several times and closely observed everything there. He wrote down in one of his notebooks:
«I asked the girls why they went to the church so often, since it was closed (they were not allowed to enter it in ecstasy), and they answered candidly: Because the Virgin likes to go near the place where her Son Jesus is.»
Instructive answer. Those doubts and ambiguities — heretical or semi-heretical — about the real presence of Christ in the Host reserved after Mass in the tabernacle, doubts which have infiltrated deeply into the mentality of some Catholics in spite of all the explicit teachings of the Supreme Magisterium, are not acceptable to God.